Pond Island*

*Text taken from the online “Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement” dated April 2004, of the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

This 10-acre island is located at the mouth of the Kennebec River, in the Town of Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County. The island was acquired in 1973 by transfer from the U.S. Coast Guard, who maintain a lighthouse and fog signal on the island.

The vegetation is dominated by a variety of mixed grasses. The eastern and northern sides of the island feature steep rock outcroppings, while a small sand beach is also located on the northern end of the island.

Until 1937, Pond Island supported a common tern colony but similar to many other tern colonies, gulls eventually excluded terns from the island. At one point in time, the adjacent North Sugarloaf Island supported the largest roseate tern colony in Maine. In an effort to restore terns to this historic nesting area, the Service and National Audubon Society initiated a tern restoration project in 1996. In 1999, Pond Island produced its first tern chick in more than 60 years, when 10 pairs of common tern successfully nested on the island. The Pond Island colony has continued to grow and in 2002, the island supported 109 pairs of common tern nested on the island.

Common eider and Leach’s storm-petrels also nest on the island. Unfortunately, great-horned owl and mammal predation continue to be a management concern on the island. Table 3-10 presents the nesting seabirds known on the island.

The island is managed in cooperation with National Audubon Society, and biological technicians staff the island during the nesting season. The society also maintains positive working relationships with several neighbors and organizations in the area. The beach on Pond Island could potentially provide limited habitat for least terns and piping plovers. The island is also an important staging area for common and roseate terns in August.

The island is closed to public access during the seabird nesting season: April 1 to August 31. Informational signs are in place to alert visitors to the closure period.

The island is open to migratory waterfowl hunting under State and Refuge regulations.

Pond Island is located next to a popular beach (Popham Beach) that supports high public use in the summer. Personal watercraft use adjacent to Pond Island may become an issue in the future.